I visited with our local NRCS contact this week to get updated on new conservation programs and was alerted to a new project about two miles from our house. He invited me to go take a look, so I did, and you can too!
This is the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. According to another similar site I visited in Story County, farmers get 15 years of annual payment equal to 1.5 times the average cash rent of the county. Then, they need to keep the land in the program an additional 15 years without additional payment.
Here’s a view from this project from a distance. The area that looks brown and tilled was just replanted as this wetland was just created.
The dam or weir is built to pond water and to the left you can see the culvert draining from the top of the wetland. In case of heavy rain, the water pours over the dam onto the rocks below it. Instead of field tiles draining directly into creeks and streams, all the field tiles in this area drain into this basin and nitrogen is consumed by aquatic plants before exiting the wetland much cleaner than the water came in.
Wildlife enhancement is a wonderful by-product of the project – in an older pond upstream of the dam, we saw ducks, geese, and an egret, among other creatures.